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"Shop Truck" - TF Rodeo

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    "Shop Truck" - TF Rodeo

    Debated putting this one up as its likely to bore people to death but being on 2 weeks forced holiday thanks to whats currently going on in Vic, i figure fuck it - at least itll keep me honest in actually getting me to work on the thing and keep track of its progress.


    So, a long story shortened - the last couple of years have been pretty chaotic and that was before someone ate a bat and basically gave the whole world AIDS. The past 5 or so years have, in condensed form, gone like this - sold a house, gotten married, bought another house, daughter was born, house fell apart because the bloke that built it was a shit cunt, bought another house, spent 6mths trying to sell shitbox house and 18months renoing the latest acquired house, 2nd child born. In between it all i left my job of 8years after an almost physical altercation, started in a completely new industry from ground zero, and now obviously the world has gone mental. Somewhere in there, my Gemini which was kind of my baby got rear ended by a VE and completely written off, I killed one 4wd, sold another half built because of the house reno taking up all my time, and killed a second one when i put it on it side at Beachport. As a result of all this, I kind of lost the love for it all a bit - it honestly felt like all i was doing was working on shit, not getting anything done, everything fighting me and just generally swimming against the tide. So I did the sensible thing and bought a sensible car; a 4x4 diesel dual cab.

    Now. What I bought was an RC Colorado with the legendary 4JJ1. And in typical Isuzu fashion, it was fucking brilliant - dependable, economical, and generally does everything it says on the box even if the box had a Holden badge slapped on it. But, and its a big but - it just wasnt me. It was so good and competent it was boring. And by this point, the itch to play with something was beginning to come back. I then spent 12months of the near 2 years of owning it complaining that I wanted something cooler, and trying to convince myself that id be better off selling it. A hard sell given that with fatherhood came a modicum of sensibility which i lacked in a previous life. The perfect excuse to pull the trigger appeared when I got put on my current jobsite [which im likely to be on for the next few years]. Its not exactly close to home - on average, im doing 650ks a week just in travel to work. The problem with that is my car doubles as both a work car and our weekend "get away" car. The last thing i want to be doing come Xmas break when we are meant to be going away is a shitload of maintenance replacing tyres and other wear items that have been murdered just driving to work down the Ring road and the Calder. Plan hatched; sell the RC, buy a cheap ute for work duties, buy an older 4wd and build a more focused tourer.

    Criteria was simple; it needed to be something reliable, something i wouldnt choose or want to modify, cheap, and not need much work but be simple to work on. Short list was Falcon ute of some description [XH, XG, AU], VR/VS Ute or TF Rodeo - tops 5k all in. As part of the symptoms of the world going mental due to Covid, so too have the prices of cars. Worked out well recently when I sold the RC for more than it owed me after 2 years, but not so good for finding a work hack. I literally searched daily for 6months and NOTHING was really worth jumping out and spending money on. Then by random chance on my lunch break I jumped on Manheims and this was what greeted me:







    Behold! 1x 1996 TF Rodeo 4ZE1 Manual with just under 200k on the clock. 3D interior shot looked fucking MINT inside. Outside looked ok minus the obviously manky canopy and bumps and bruises but looked ok.

    Quick phone conference with mrs; no time to look at it, its probably not as neat as it looks but fuck it just bid anyway. If it ends up being rubbish, ill deal with it then. Turns out i was the winning bidder and nabbed it for well under my max bid. With auction fees AND transport to my door, it came in at under 1400. Win?

    Get home from work to find it in the middle of my driveway. First impressions are....not good, not bad. Its not as neat as it looked in photos but its not beyond saving. The rear in particular looks like it had been parked via braille repeatedly and the tailgate was absolutely fucked. There is bathroom silicon EVERYWHERE; the canopy is completely caked in it. Quick look under the bonnet and it actually looks like its been looked after; the oil is clean, the leads are newish, the coolant is green and the timing belt has clearly been done. Also, it has AC and PS which is pretty rare on these pov spec utes. First thoughts are, surely this thing was owned by an old bloke and its a deceased estate or abandoned after the previous owner was no longer. I was close, but more on that later.





    Could be onto a winner here - and then i go to start it....and the cunt wont start. Not even a splutter or a kick, just endless cranking. At this point my Mrs is on her way home from work and the fucking thing is in the middle of the driveway - now, shes supportive as fuck when it comes to car stuff, but she wasnt really on board with buying it site unseen. How the hell do i explain to her it wont start? Check spark, pulled multimeter out, checking fuses and relays, checking power to fuel pump.....and then it dawns on me. It has ZERO fuel in it, and my driveway is on a slope downhill. Quick splash of mower fuel and it fires first go

    Curiosity is the leading killer of cats and it got the better of me. There were a few stickers on the car, one of which was on the drivers window and bears a striking resemblance to a council issued Abandoned Vehicle Notice:



    The only other recent stickers on the car belong to rock climbing clubs - one in oz, one in NZ - which explains the Parks Vic pass on the windscreen and all the silicon [whoever had it must have been camping in the back]. After going through the two Facebook pages to the climbing clubs I find a post which ties in with the rego being cancelled and the old girl ending up at the auctions. Turns out i was right, the car WAS abandoned after the previous owner had died. What I didnt expect was that the previous owner was marginally older than me and she had committed suicide. Fuck, that went dark really fast. Explains the standard of the "repairs" [the silicon] and the serviced-by-someone evidence.

    Two weeks after buying it work tells me Ill be getting a bit of a bump in role and a company car eventually...thatd be right! Still, its clean enough and cheap enough - fuck it, ill spend some time and money on it anyway. Spare ute is always good, hence, Shop Truck.


    N-
    1978 Gemini Sedan - Powered by i change my mind every week - R.I.P
    1980 Gemini Sedan
    1987 Range Rover Vogue
    1996 TF Holden Rodeo

    #2
    At least it came with an interesting story...

    Although that read end does look pretty fucked and there's a lot of silicone, if you just need a hack eventually it'll be perfect... I guess at least you know it doesn't leak into the rear....for now

    Originally posted by piss98
    fuck I'd be happy to suck Bill Gates off

    Comment


      #3
      As long as previous owner didn't pass away in it or it would be way too weird to own.

      When I was an apprentice mechanic remember seeing this Cordia get towed in...owner gassed himself inside of it.Fuck that none of us would get in it or work on it

      Comment


        #4
        [As long as previous owner didn't pass away in it or it would be way too weird to own.

        When I was an apprentice mechanic remember seeing this Cordia get towed in...owner gassed himself inside of it.Fuck that none of us would get in it or work on it
        It properly crossed my mind when I found the memorial post on facebook. Then came the startling realization that the interior is pretty clean....tell me she didnt and theyve cleaned it all up before sending it to auction so to speak! Fortunately, ended up working out she hadnt - at least in the cabin. Jury is out on the tray area.

        Hopefully old mate was found relatively quickly. You dont want to see or smell how bad it is when old mate is left for a while.


        Originally posted by nutttr View Post
        At least it came with an interesting story...

        Although that read end does look pretty fucked and there's a lot of silicone, if you just need a hack eventually it'll be perfect... I guess at least you know it doesn't leak into the rear....for now
        Ah. Well. Thats how it started.....its already gotten out of control. Damage assessment. It looks neatish from about 10m away being white and sort of semi-gloss by this age, but the reality is upon closer inspection every single panel on it had damage. Every single one. The bulk of the damage was the rear quarters and the tail gate. See below.

        Tailgate rooted



        Rear Corners







        Rear bumperettes were held in with....



        …silicon. Sticking everything together except for the caulking on your shower.

        I need a cheap ute. It just needs to get me to work and back and be a good run around. Itll fulfill that purpose admirably - i dont have time to stuff around with it. So i began by stripping it to respray it LH Rear corner as the first to get it. Access is really, really bad for the dents in the upper half of it so i ended up welding a 10mm thick hardened steel washer onto a 250mm long coach bolt to jam in there and hit with a hammer. Didnt have a map torch to heat it at the time and thanks to restrictions its a 3 day turn around with Bunnings so left it a little bit low and filler will do the rest.







        Thatll be good enough. I made the mistake of bashing out the recess near the tail gate before i realized the bumperette actually needs to sit in a slight indent. Got to love undoing a bit of what youve done. The RHS however, ive been dreading. Way worse than the LHS particularly under the tail light, and absolutely no way of getting in there properly. Procrastinated a fair bit until i grew a set and got the angle grinder out. In an ideal world, i would have cut that corner off, gone to the wreckers and cut a better one off. Three problems with that plan - one, all the ones in the wreckers are stuffed, two, they all seem to be 97 - 02 models which are a different profile and three, bit hard to do that with current covid restrictions. So no choice then but to cut it off, get a bit of heat into it and start belting.

        Got the drill out on the spotwelds i could reach, and grinder and cutting disc between the two panels which worked fine except for where i went for a little wander and cut INTO the rear quarter panel..



        Out with the gasless and stitched it up again



        A lot of heat and wailing on it later and we have this.





        Needless to say a generous skim of bog was required but at least the shape looks somewhat OK.



        More later.
        Last edited by F3ARED; 01-10-21, 09:38 AM.
        1978 Gemini Sedan - Powered by i change my mind every week - R.I.P
        1980 Gemini Sedan
        1987 Range Rover Vogue
        1996 TF Holden Rodeo

        Comment


          #5
          You are being far too nice to it.
          Work utes are supposed to be a bit rough.
          Nice job on it though.
          Lots of minis & mokes including a G13b powered Sports Sedan, a couple of Swift Gtis, a Goggomobil, Porsche 928S, Polo Gti, BMW 540i, a WRX and a few others.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by awdmoke View Post
            You are being far too nice to it.
            Work utes are supposed to be a bit rough.
            Nice job on it though.
            I know, but its like an OCD thing - I cant help it. Spend the time and money now, have it for a while is the way Im justifying it. The old man has taken a bit of a liking to it after he gave me the typical why you waste your money on shit wog routine so i figure once I get my company car, the old boy can have it to carry shit around/

            One more to bring us up to date while the kids are behaving.

            Decided the tie down rails as fitted ex-factory were fucking ugly. Plan is to get a clip-on tonneau cover so they wont be needed plus i need to discourage the old man from tieing shit over the bodywork to the tie down rails and scratching the paint. Out with the gasless again.

            Cut the heads off the bolts



            Quick zap



            Quick grind



            Cue autistic screeching from all the Facebook group experts about why ive fucked it by warping the shit out of it with the gasless or how welding the bolt in is apparently "dodgy" and I should have filled the hole with weld, never mind the fact that the threads are a lot thinner and burn easier than a cut off bolt or the fact you cant get a copper backing in there to fill it either. Also, it didnt warp. So eat dicks.

            Front drivers quarter damage.





            Literally hit in the worst part of the panel where the gaurd flare merges into a concave edge. New panels are cheap, or at least there were until this last lockdown where the prices suddenly tripled. Fucks sake. Out with the gas torch again because the panels are ridiculously thin on these things and they oil can like no ones business.

            A lot of work later [like, probably not worth the effort and should have just paid the extortionate price for a new one]





            Still needed a bit more bog closer towards the top of the gaurd but it looks and feels ok now so once its in highfill ill know more.

            More random repairs









            This door has literally sapped my will to live. Ive long boarded the fuck out of it, looks good but i can just feel a low somewhere that the block isnt picking up.





            Anyway, thats up to date for now.

            N-
            Last edited by F3ARED; 01-10-21, 11:09 AM.
            1978 Gemini Sedan - Powered by i change my mind every week - R.I.P
            1980 Gemini Sedan
            1987 Range Rover Vogue
            1996 TF Holden Rodeo

            Comment


              #7
              Thoroughly enjoying this thread.

              Good to see someone is actually working on their car and posting pics haha
              .
              AutoMotif / VC Valiant / TJ Wrangler

              Comment


                #8
                Awesome!

                I fell in love with a rough 2WD C/chassis RA that came through the shop that the guy said he was selling. Didn't have the funds at the time, otherwise I'd have snapped it up. Would've been perfect for what we need, Family II engine notwithstanding...
                Originally posted by brewdles
                In short, some cunt at test and tune had a 250cc honda turning to 11ty and it sounded porn. Do that.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I genuinely love that you are lavishing infinitely more time and effort than a $1400 beaten up work ute would logically deserve. Carry on!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Even 'as is' you've done incredibly well for $1400 in the current climate.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      nice project, any more background on the motor for non isuzu people?

                      bullet proof?
                      loves the limiter?
                      takes boost?

                      ?
                      www.holditflat.com

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Love me a good low buck shitter restoration thread.

                        Please continue good sir.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Great read.
                          These have quite a long tray. You'd be able to fit a few bodies back there

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Captain_Slow View Post
                            I genuinely love that you are lavishing infinitely more time and effort than a $1400 beaten up work ute would logically deserve. Carry on!
                            This. It’s what car people do, and sharing it with us all is also great.
                            ---
                            Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I think I'm conditioned to expect this to end up with shaved panels, caddy lights and a chassis notch. showing my age

                              Comment

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